I grew up in the 1960s and came of age in the 1970s. The biggest message I got from the counter-culture of the 60s was that the government tended to mess things up and that the federal government messed up more than the states which mess up more than local government.
When Reagan said these same things in 1976 I was sold. I remember watching the 1976 Republicn convention. When they introduced Reagan, a few minutes were set aside for cheering. Instead of following the script, the convention cheered for 20 minutes or more. I wished that the convention would dump Ford and go with a real candidate.
Of course, they had to nominate Ford and he lost to Carter. Four years later Reagan got his chance. Our polling place was jammed. We had to wait an hour to vote and when we got to the head of the line, they had lost my wife's name. She had to get the notice of where to vote which proved that she was registered, then she stood in line for a second hour. She did this because we felt that Reagan needed our vote.
It is strange hearing Kerry say good things about Reagan. I am sure that he hated Reagan at the time. All Democrats did. They painted Reagan with the same brush they use on Bush - stupid, a tool of interest groups. They were sure that his Attorney General was plotting to abolish civil rights. He was caracturized on TV and in the movies as a likeable dunce, blowing up the world without even realizing it.
Even today, the Democratic message boards are blaming Reagan for AIDS. activists were certain at the time that a cure for AIDS would be simple and only required a little more money. Even today the best that we can do is extend the time that it takes for HIV to turn into AIDS. The only way to avoid AIDS is safe sex. We knew that under Reagan.
The Reagan administration was not perfect and it made several mistakes during his second term but it was still the best administration in my lifetime.
When Reagan took office inflation was running at 12% and higher. Economists said that it could never get below 9% - it was built into the economy. I don't think that it has hit 6% since then and has been in the 1% to 2% range since.
This affects everyone. When inflation is running at 12% your savings are worthless but you cannot afford to buy anything. My second house cost twice what my first one did but the payments are only 50% higher because of the difference in interest rates.
In 1980 communism was still expanding. Now if has virtually vanished.
Under Jimmy Carter, the armed services tried to rescue the hostages in Iran but mechanical failure stopped them. Reagan revitalized the armed services. Many of the weapons systems in use today were started under his administration.
The world is a better place because of the Reagan presidency